‘Abbott – a natural fit for a war memorial sliding from commemoration to propaganda‘, Pearls and Irritations, 11 October 2019
From Heritage Guardians member, Sue Wareham, and follows earlier items in HG’s campaign against the $498m extensions to the Australian War Memorial. The appointment of Tony Abbott to the Council of the Memorial reinforces the tendency embodied by the extensions proposal: more of the same sentimental, jingoistic commemoration that has characterised that institution in recent years.
People who have the power to set the direction of national cultural institutions need to reflect appropriate values. The appointment of Tony Abbott to the Council of the Australian War Memorial reminds us of just how much the Memorial has lost touch with the values of many Australians. A man whose public life has been divisive and polarising seems a very poor choice for an institution that should unite people across political and ideological divides, but a natural fit for an institution that is sliding towards grandiosity and propaganda.